A Guardian From Earth discussion and excerpt

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A Guardian From Earth is the second book of Rediscovery, the middle book of a 'tight' trilogy where the events in subsequent novels take up very close upon the heels of the previous book. Nonetheless, each story has it's own beginning, middle, and climax.

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"M'ija, what have you gotten into?"

"I'm about to explain that, Mama. Do you have an empty tin can in your recycling?"
"I think so m'ija. I used a can of tomato sauce a couple nights ago. You want it for something?"
"A demonstration. I want to start out by showing you and Papi evidence of what I'm going to tell you. I want you to understand early that this is not something like anything you're familiar with. If I can get past that hump early, this will go a lot easier."
"I'll get it."
Meanwhile Papi was coming in the front door, Riley doing his happy wiggle, but tonight Papi had eyes only for me. "M'ija! I was starting to worry it might be the hallucinations of an old man, but you're still here!" I hugged him, hard, "Yes, I'm still here Papi. What I'm going to have to show you and tell you will be a lot easier if I can start with a demonstration, and have you examine a couple things with your own eyes. First, I asked Mama to get me a used tin can, and here she is." I took the sauce can from her, went out only the spaced tile walkway behind the house, set it down, then thought better of it, picked it back up and handed it him. "Take a good look at it. Decide for yourself whether it's a completely normal can with no abnormalities, or if you think it's in some way unusual, say so. And I can wait a couple minutes for you to say hi to Riley, too. Probably a good idea if he and Candy are in the house when we do this."
"Looks normal to me, hija. I'll go put the dogs in the house." It was a couple minutes later when he came out again, carefully closing the back door so the dogs wouldn't get out. "Set the can down on one of the tiles, Papi. Take a good look at where you set it down before you do." They were all identical, square masonry tiles he'd set down roughly eighteen inches apart in a line back to the patio near the back fence just after we'd bought the place. They were weathered, but solid. "Ok, but I don't understand."

"You will in a moment Papi." I took the hand blaster out of my bag, made sure it was on and aimed it at the can. Actually, I didn't know what the hand blaster would do to a can, but I was pretty certain it would do something. You don't blow a hole clean through someone's head with less power than it takes to shoot tin cans.
Actually, my first shot missed the can completely. Fw-crack! It blew a hole in the tile the can was on and cracked it from front to back, into two pieces. He and mama both jumped in alarm. "M'ija, what did you do that for?" Papi demanded, "I knew I should have taught you to handle a gun. This isn't the place!"

"Papi, look carefully. This isn't a gun. It doesn't shoot bullets. Stand back." Then I carefully squeezed off another shot. Fw-clink-crack! I hadn't dead centered it, but there was now a hole in the can, and it had moved just a little. The poor tile it sat on was now hopelessly shattered. I held the studs in back, watching the indicator go black. "The blaster is now safe. Examine the can if you will."
Papi knelt down. The first thing he did surprised me. He looked at the tile underneath the can, then the dirt underneath the tile. He felt around in the dirt, which had formed narrow divots. "Your shots appear to have pierced both the can and the tile. The tile is warm and so are a couple of places beneath it where I believe the shots hit, but I cannot find a bullet. The edges of the holes in the can are consistent with there being no physical bullet as well, as there is no bending back or tearing of the edges. It appears to be a clean hole like a laser might make, but I don't know of any lasers that powerful."

"I don't know that it's a laser Papi. In fact, I don't know anything about it except what ScOsh told me in order to shoot it. I can dial the power level up or down, I can turn it on or off, I can mostly read the power indicator, and I can tell you that this this weapon was completely drained this morning and recharged itself while I slept. And before you ask, yes, I was in a gun battle, kind of. I'm not hurt, but I'm the only survivor. Are there any other tests you would like to make to determine whether this is a thing that can be made anywhere on Earth?"

"Let me shoot it once, hija."

"Alright, watch me. I showed him how to shoot it, turn it on, squeezed off another shot of my own at the helpless can, which he'd set down on the lawn. I missed, again, sending up a tiny protrusion of displaced dirt and grass. I turned it off and handed it to him. He turned it back on, and shot, but Papi hit the can with his first shot. The indicator went from blue to gold briefly and then red. ScOsh wasn't kidding about high power drain while the weapon was powering up. I didn't know how much we'd burned, but that last shot had to be significant to change colors twice. Papi shot again. Hit the can again. The indicator stayed red, so the power up must have been complete. Mama was obviously upset almost to the point of rebellion, but then he turned the weapon off and handed it back to me. "I'm convinced, no real recoil, smooth mechanism with no difference between slack and pull range, and I am pretty certain nothing made on earth can do that kind of damage without weighing at least a hundred times what that thing does. Not to mention that the power indicator is completely different than anything I've seen from Earth engineers. But it looks like it was designed for a human hand?"
"Yes it was, Papi. The man who gave it to me was as human as we are. He just wasn't from Earth. Let me show you one more thing, even more unusual. But this we can do inside. We're done with gun discharges, I hope." With that, I put the gun away and pulled out the "pocket" while walking into the house, "I'm sorry I upset you Mama, and I'll replace the tile Papi, but I hope you can see why I needed to show you. You had to feel it for yourself."

"Yes, I did. What else do you have to show me?"
"ScOsh called it a pocket." I laid it out, cloth side up, on the kitchen table. "Feel." Mama and Papi both reached out and touched it. The material was like a cross between velvet and silk; light, but with a sturdy plush feel, pleasant to run your fingers over. I turned it over, and now they could see into it. Mama's mouth made the O of exclamation and she clapped her hands and said, "Ooh, I want one!" Papi's eyes got real big, but he reached his hand in, and pulled out ScOsh's original sword.

"Careful, Papi. I don't know how to use any of what's in there. I don't even know what anything else is, and I'm pretty sure some of it is dangerous. But is the container anything we can make here on Earth?"

"You know the answer to that, m'ija. If it were, would you women ruin your backs carrying around huge purses?" as he gestured at my large travelling bag. "I want to try something, though." He took a pen out of his pants pocket, put it inside the pocket, released it. It floated there. Evidently, gravity didn't exist inside. He put his hand into one of the side pockets that wasn't holding anything. "Sticky, like a Post-It, but stronger." Rubbing his fingers together, "It doesn't feel like the adhesive transfers, either. I can't feel a thing on them."

"Okay, m'ija, you've got me convinced. Tell me the story."

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on December 18, 2018 7:03 PM.

Excerpt from The Man From Empire was the previous entry in this blog.

Empire and Earth discussion and excerpt is the next entry in this blog.

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